Where does morality come from?
That’s a topic Anthony recently suggested. A worthy topic indeed!
OK–the idea of morality is hard to pin down, but it’s also a huge part of human relatedness. Here’s what I mean:
Lots of human beings around the world seem to think and act as if they believe there are right ways and wrong ways to live. OK, not just lots. You could argue, all of us, or at least, nearly all of us. We might express this belief by abiding by a strict moral code, or by feeling guilty that we don’t abide by it, or by feeling superior than people who abide by strict moral codes because we think it’s superior to be more flexible and tolerant than strict. In those three examples, there’s this presupposition that there are right ways and wrong ways to live (or, at least better vs. worse ways). We differ on what the important moral issues are and what the right/wrong conclusions are on any ethical standpoint. We adopt, adapt to, and rebel against the cultural structures of morality around them. We differ on our theories of morality–what our moral sense is at its core. Moralities differ between cultures, times, and individuals.
Still, amidst these differences, some kind of morality is hard to avoid as a supposition in any of the many ways we humans live our lives and think about our lives. We care about what’s fair or what’s not fair. We are challenged by, inspired by, ashamed by, or disgusted by acts of love and self sacrifice. Because the human sense of morality is so diverse, it’s hard to pin down. Because it’s so prevalent, it’s hard to imagine human beings abstracted from their sense of right/wrong; good/bad; better/worse; appropriate/inappropriate.
Where does this elusive yet virtually inescapable part of our existence come from? Why are humans moral creatures?
That’s the February topic! See you at Gray’s!